During current research, the effects of deoxynivalenol (DON) exposure on cerebral lipid peroxidation, neurotransmitter secretion and calcium homeostasis in chicks were evaluated. One hundred and twenty Hailan chicks (male, 1-day-old) were randomly divided into four groups. Chicks in low, medium and high dose groups were fed with 0.27, 1.68 and 12.21 mg/kg−1 DON respectively by gavage according to feed intake. Chicks in control group were fed with physiological saline by gavage. The trials were conducted for 36 d. At the end of the trials, twenty chicks per group were sacrificed, and the cerebra were collected for measuring the brain indices. Compared with the control group, the activities of total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) and glutathione peroxidase were significantly decreased in treatment groups (P < 0.05), the contents of malondialdehyde in high dose group were increased (P < 0.05), the catalase activities and nitric oxide contents in medium and high dose groups were decreased (P < 0.05), and the activities of T-AOC in high dose group were reduced (P < 0.05). Compared with the control group, the concentrations of norepinephrine and 5-hydroxytryptamine in high dose group were obviously increased (P < 0.05), while the concentrations of dopamine were decreased (P < 0.05). Meanwhile, the concentrations of calcium and calmodulin (CaM) in medium and high dose groups were lower than those of the control group (P < 0.05), and the gene relative expression of CaM mRNA in treatment groups were significantly reduced (P < 0.05), in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggested that DON exposure can affect the cerebral lipid peroxidation, neurotransmitters secretion and the balance of calcium homeostasis in chicks.